|King of Anglia|
|Reign||September, 1577 - 12th June, 1580|
|Reign||23rd October, 1581 - 28th April, 1590|
|Born|| 14th January, 1559 |
|Died|| 29th April, 1625 |
|Spouse|| Catherine of Leon|
|Mother||Isabella of Roncevalles|
Richard III, King of Anglia is rarely in popular culture seen as anything other than a repressive ruler but this needs to be seen in light of the wider struggle between Catholic and Lutheran sides in the Anglian War of Religion which encompassed both of his stints on the throne.
The eldest son of Richard II and Isabella of Roncevalles, Richard was born in Pamplona where his father had based himself for many years as head of a branch of the Manx Company of mercenaries. He would be 14 years of age in 1573 when the family returned to Anglia, quite wealthy from the profits of war and his father was soon installed as Earl of Jorvikshire. The family's wealth and status helped sway a considerable number of Anglian lords and when John III began the moves to turn Anglia into a Lutheran country in 1574, Richard (the Elder) became the focal point for Catholic dissent. John was quickly forced out of the country and into exile in Fryslân. However, the newly crowned Richard II did not have a united Anglia to rule and soon revolt and assassination attempts wore down his authority. John would slip back into the country and defeat Richard's army. Richard II himself would die of wounds after the Battle of Stamford and John would briefly claim the throne. However, his own grip on it was precarious and the still-Catholic held Lincoln proclaimed 'Richard of Pamplona' as king. John would go into exile once more, though the eastern coast remained in his hands.
Richard III was less charismatic than his father and certainly less experienced but considerably more fervently Catholic. He and his bishops soon had persecutions against Lutherans stepped up. Nobility and landowners were threatened with the loss of their land and livelihoods, and priests were threatened with being burnt at the stake. Indeed many were but the threats could only carry within the lands he controlled anyway. Outside of the Midlands his authority dwindled. In the east where John held coastal forts and the majority of the population was Lutheran there was little Richard could do to coerce the populace. Similarly in supposedly loyal Jorvikshire many of the market towns had growing numbers of Lutheran adherents opposed to Richard's religious policies. Revolt against Richard's punishing rule (a relatively poor harvest did not help him) let John and a massive army of mercenaries gain significant traction in 1580 securing decisive victories and capturing Lincoln. Richard would flee with a sizeable part of the treasury across the border into Wessex.
By this point Henry III of Wessex had stamped his Catholic authority on Wessex and had his own repressions against the Lutherans in full swing. However, it seems he did not really know what to do with his 'guest' and it was perhaps telling that he was kept at arms length at Coventry rather than being given a reception at Bristol. Still relative wealthy Richard set about the task of reclaiming his kingdom. However, in the end, would not need an army. John III would die in Lincoln in October 1581 having failed largely to stamp his authority on the country and the lords of northern Anglia called Richard back to the country.
King once more, Richard indulged in another round of brutal repression against the Lutherans, at least until the Witenage, whose members' lands were threatened by revolt, begged him and his bishops to ease up. There was still the issue of John III's son William of Dunholm slowly gathering his forces in Fryslân and interfering with the eastern counties and William had the loyalty of much of Anglia's 'royal' navy which meant Richard would be unable to attack Fryslân directly without allies. However, much of northern Europe was now Lutheran and Henry III of Wessex was unwilling to be dragged into a war that might threaten his own position so soon after a debilitating civil war. In Iberia Richard secured the alliance of Leon, but this would not result in any concrete plans. In fact as William of Dunholm own diplomatic moves soon showed, Richard was running out of friends and available lines of credit in much of Europe.
This may have been ok had Richard had the support of capable privy council but he increasingly insisted on ruling on his own. He was aloof and appeared uninterested in making firm alliances with the established lords, preferring instead to promote his own men. His preference toward men and fashions from Iberia or southern Francia did not sit well with a nobility accustomed to consensual government (however limited that might be) and influenced by Dutch culture. While this was fine in the short term while William of Dunholm was less of an issue it played havoc with Anglia's governance and prevented Lincoln from regaining control over certain parts of the country. And his continued repressions against Lutherans only seemed to firm up their resolve and entrench the faith outside of the areas he controlled. It would eventually be one of these parts, Norfolk, which would cause Richard's downfall. In 1589 the Catholics in Norwich attempted to take matters into their own hands to oust the Lutheran mayor. However, their blunt attempts was countered by a considerable Lutheran uprising. This spread to other eastern parts of Anglia, a disruption which William of Dunholm exploited to return in force.
Richard preferred to control his armies from Lincoln, leading to accusations of cowardice, but finally when he was goaded by the barbs enough to face his cousin on the battlefield at Newark his armies were thoroughly defeated. Richard managed to escape, back into exile in Wessex while William secured Anglia as a now permanently Lutheran state.
Now considerably poorer than he had been during his first stay in Wessex, Henry III's heir Thomas I seemed to have more time for his fellow Catholic. This seemed to keep open the idea that Richard would mount an attempt to regain the throne but none came. Instead he would be given land in the Welsh marches and kept busy assisting with Wessex's ongoing struggle with Hordaland in Ireland. That is not to say he was not scheming to assist Catholic forces within Anglia; he is generally known to be behind the Kaas Plot of 1600 which looked to assassinate William's only surviving son Henry of Ipswich, but this was unsuccessful. During the 'Scottish Emergency' in 1606 Wessex would fight a minor war with Anglia and there would be pro-Richard risings in southern Jorvikshire, Nottinghamshire and Ketteringshire. However, Wessex's cautious military efforts did not give Richard the return to power he and his supporters believed they could achieve. There would be subsequent plots against Anna II but slowly the focus turned more towards Richard's son Charles as the rightful pretender.
Richard would die in 1625 in Ireland having spent much of the rest of his life in the service of Wessex.
Richard was married to Catherine of Leon in 1582. They would have two children:
- Charles (1584-1647)
- Isabel (1588-1602)
During his second exile he would marry Lucy Dowland, the daughter of an close ally of Thomas I. They would have three children:
- Cecily (1595-1639)
- John (1596)
- Francis (1599-1667)
Charles (and his own son Richard) would continue to urge Catholic forces in Wessex and across Europe to assist them in regaining the throne. There was a short-lived plot to install Richard as Anglia's king during the Kalmar-Wessex War, though this would not get much further than a motion in the Wessex Parliament. The current 'pretender' (though the family officially relinquished any residual claim to the Anglian throne in 1805) is the 8th Baron Pendine, Brigadier General Thomas Yorwich.